Do you support the findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education? Are you committed to funding associated reforms, and if so, how?
Young: I do. The commission worked tirelessly to identify recommendations that would meet the needs of a 21st century public school system and I am impressed with the results. I am committed to funding suggested reforms and recommendations through the state, identifying federal programs and matching dollars, as well as potential public private partnerships. The findings of the commission will take time to implement and a timeline for funding over a number of years would be an appropriate fiscal strategy.
Is Maryland’s transportation spending appropriately balanced between roads and transit? Does the state have the resources to meet its transportation needs? With the cancellation of the Red Line and the advent of BaltimoreLink, is the Baltimore region adequately served by transit?
Young: I believe there is an unbalanced focus on roads vs. public transit. Absolutely Maryland has the resources needed to meet its transportation needs. What is lacking is the leadership and political will to create a future minded transit plan that defines what our transit system should look like and what it will take to get there. No, current transit options do not adequately serve the Baltimore region.
Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?
Young: Yes, I believe the legalization of marijuana would be a positive move for Maryland to take advantage of a potentially billion-dollar industry.
At a time when the federal government’s commitment to Chesapeake Bay restoration is questionable, what new steps should Maryland take to protect this resource?
Young: Recognizing our unique responsibility as stewards of the health and future of the Chesapeake Bay Maryland should continue its efforts to support a culture of accountability over the largest estuary in the nation. Empowering our local communities to take an active part in cleaning and defending the countless tributaries would be positive step to account for a diminished federal commitment. Holding industries accountable for proven negative impacts on the Chesapeake Bay should also be adopted. While we should continue to fight for adequate federal funding to maintain their commitment a knowledgeable and engaged public is the best defense to fluctuating federal commitments to the bay and our environment.
What steps should Maryland take to ensure the broadest possible access to affordable health care?
Young: This session we passed legislation to stabilize the insurance market and we need to work to ensure the success of the Affordable Care Act. That said, I believe, the best solution would be a Medicare for all program.
What role should the state play in helping Baltimore address violent crime?
Young: While crime in Baltimore has been the focus of national attention, its impact is felt across the entire state. We need to address poverty, opportunity and good wages are the best way to combat violence. We need to invest more in education. And, we need to make sure that folks that commit violent acts are taken off the streets.
How would you characterize Maryland’s business climate? What can the state do to foster the creation of more family-supporting jobs?
Young: I would say that Maryland has always had a fundamentally friendly business climate. We continue to offer incentives to attract new businesses to set up shop here and have taken steps to keep them once they are here. This isn’t new. I believe that businesses work best when they support their employees. For me this means providing an adequate wage, health care, and time off for families and parents. I think we foster the creation of family-supporting jobs by reinforcing that Maryland’s values are represented by family-supporting jobs.
Do you support the creation of a non-partisan, independent body to draw legislative and congressional district maps after each census?
Young: I believe gerrymandering is the biggest threat to democracy. Study after study has shown that had districts been drawn fairly nation-wide democrats would hold a significant number of additional seats.
Does the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights adequately balance protections for police and the public? Should it be changed, and if so, how?
Young: As a Marine combat Veteran I understand the feeling of pride in choosing to serve others over oneself, but I also know that honor is doing what’s right even when no one is watching. The Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, as currently operating, seems to fall short of providing a system that holds the dishonorable to account while still supporting law enforcement professionals who truly protect and serve. Therefore I am in support of modest reforms. Police officers at their best are heroes plain and simple. Let’s work together to restore the publics trust by fixing the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights so that hero cops can be heroes and transparency can hold dishonorable cops accountable.
What strategy would you adopt to address the opioid addiction and overdose crisis?
Young: I believe that shifting our approach to one that emphasizes treatment over incarceration is the key to solving the opioid crisis. Simply locking up those arrested for crimes related to opioids has proven to do nothing in curbing overdoses. Strategies must be implemented to treat this as a public health crisis rather than a criminal crisis.
What if anything should the state do to address income inequality?
Young: I believe that income inequality and wage stagnation will be looked at as the great challenge of our time. The past five decades have seen the cost of living dramatically increase, while wages have statistically remained stagnant compared to industry profits. Increasing the minimum wage is a catalyst in this fight. Strategically preparing and training our workforce to meet the needs of Maryland’s diverse economy is another needed step. There are jobs available across Maryland that pay adequate and above average wages, but they require specialized skills that many seeking employment lack. We should make every effort to link our citizens to training and education that meets the demands of Maryland’s 21st century economy.
Do the state’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws adequately ensure Marylanders’ ability to exercise oversight of the government?
Young: I believe that Maryland’s Public Information Act and open meetings laws provide the opportunity for Marylanders to exercise oversight of the government, however in practice it is not a simple, or timely, process. I believe improvements could be pursued to meet the needs of a 21st century electorate.